Brave - Waist deep in dark waters - 2001


I am specially happy to review this long mini CD (in the 70´s it would be a short LP) of the North American band Brave -ex Arise from Thorns - since I wrote about them more than one year ago when I reviewed their second CD Before an audience of stars and interviewed them (see interviews section). Now Brave is in a sweet moment of its career. Besides having signed with the label Dark Symphonies -in which Before… has already reissued -, when you are reading these lines they will already have opened up for Fates Warning and Savatage in the USA. This CD is the band´s baptism of fire under the name Brave (no Marillion connection) and they continue with the same lineup: Michelle Loose (vocals, keyboards); Scott Loose (acoustic and electric guitars); Tom Phillips (guitars); Trevor Schrotz (drums); and Chris Welborn (bass).


According to the band, the change of the name comes motivated to a new musical approaching more progressive. In my opinion they only get it at 80% because, although it is certain that the music has won in shades, colors and rhythm changes, it is not less true than the composing style is close to outlines of Arise from Thorns. The first track "Spirits" is a quite significant sample of the previously said: a base typically A.F.T. but improved with an incredible sound and a bigger and more varied presence of keyboards and guitars, so the band moves from the most environmental proposals close to The Gathering or Karnataka´s sound of previous works. "Dark Waters" is calmer and follows the trail of the previous song without adding anything new. On the other hand I think that Brave should go on with the style of tracks as "Lost (in retrospect)", really original and with some very original rhythms and incredible double guitars that envelop the voice of Michelle Loose, who demonstrates to be one of the best vocalists in the moment. To conclude, "To search a soul (part one excerpt)" a short, potent and versatile instrumental track that (I think) it will be part of some suite of the next CD It would be necessary to analyze it in the concept context, so I won´t review it in depth.


With only four tracks I don't have arguments to know if Brave will go on walking on a path different than A.F.T. In the first two tracks of the CD, the music is similar than A.F.T. but more mature and increased, but in the last two tracks they sound as a totally different band. Anyway, the overall sound and feeling of this CD is much better than the first two CDs of A.F.T., acquiring a defined personality and shaking the comparisons with bands/artists such as Anathema or Tori Amos. They don't have anything to do with Marillion and much less with Fates Warning or Savatage; as I wrote in the last A.F.T. review, this band has the virtue of being in an intelligent impartial land that makes that this music could be followed by the most aggressive sectors as to the sweetest in the progressive world, although it is specially recommended for those that look for sweetness and intensity. I´m anxious to listen to the full CD

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - April 2001 -   - Independent Release